Welcome to the Australian Bush Poets Association
WELCOME. Membership of the Australian Bush Poets Association (ABPA) is comprised of writers, performers
and individuals who are interested in bush poetry and enjoy written and live stories in rhyme and metre. If
you have an interest in this piece of Australian culture called bush poetry, you have come to the right place.
The objectives of the Australian Bush Poets Association are to foster and encourage the growth of bush poetry in Australia. By definition, Australian bush poetry is metred and rhymed poetry about Australia, Australians and/or the Australian way of life.
To join the Australian Bush Poets Association and receive our bi-monthly magazine, go to our Membership page.
The ABPA keeps in touch with its members through this website (and forum) and our bi-monthly magazine of bush poetry news, events, results of written and performance competitions as well as samples of contemporary bush poetry. Many members have books, CDs and other products. These can be advertised in the magazine. For rates, click here. The deadline for ads and other content for the magazine is the 22nd of the month preceding publication. Magazines are published at the beginning of February, April, June, August, October and December.
Check out our Facebook page.
2024 Tamworth Country Music Festival Poetry Events
Frank Daniel Award for best walk-up poet was won by Bianca Reedy from Wallabadah. Ray Essery donated the trophy and Tom McILveen co-ordinated the event.
Second place was won by Michael the living poet Jones, pictured with Ray Essery and trophy second place donator and co-ordinator Tom McILveen.
At the West Tamworth Bowling Club Poets Breakfast Geoffrey W. Graham weaving his magic to a full house. Hosted by Tom McILveen and Susan Ashton (Spiral Time), the shows also featured Ray Essery, Bill Kearns, John Peel, David Melville, Gregory North and Paddy O’Brien.
And that’s a wrap from the Longyard Bush Poets Breakfasts shows, folks. What a wonderful year, with sell-out shows at the most iconic venue at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Thanks to the entire crew at the Longyard for being so easy and professional to work with and to all the artists who performed out of their skins to entertain the massive crowds! Marco, Muz, Errol, Ray, Joey, Alan, Bill, Gary, and our special guests Jeff Brown, Therese and Pete Proust and a very, very special thanks to our Barrel Girl, come performer in her own right, Bianca Reedy, who went over and won the prestigious Frank Daniel Poetry Award! And a special shout out to my wife Colleen, for holding me together for the week! Until next year, folks, love Australia and keep up the art of storytelling and yarn spinning, through whatever medium you love. Macpoet (Neil McArthur).
The Rhymer’s Roundup at the North Tamworth Bowling Club was held for all ten days of the festival with Paddy O’Brien, Andrew Clermont (muso extraordinaire), John Peel, Gregory North, the Rhymer From Ryde - Graeme Johnson (co-ordinator) and comedian Peter Willey.
On the Thursday night of the festival poets gathered at the Marigold Inn Chinese Restaurant for great food and socialising. Pictured are John Peel, McILveen Tom, Susan Ashton, Rob Cummins, Margaret Finucane, Geoffrey W Graham, Gregory North, Joey Reedy, Bill Kearns, Mary Gray, John Reedy, Graeme Johnson, Paddy O’Brien, Narelle (Graeme's wife).
Vale John Lloyd
In early January we lost a genuine character and talented bush poet in the person
of John Lloyd who died in Mackay Hospital. John was an ex-Queensland and Northern
Territory ringer, bull catcher and buffalo breeder with a wealth of life experience
that he brought to the bush poet’s stage in his unique gravelly voice.
He had the ability to have his audience laughing at the funny side of suddenly finding yourself astride the back of a wild bull and then have that same audience in awe as he described the beauty and majesty of the outback that he knew so well.
We extend our sympathy to wife Carmel and family at this sad time.
Vale William (Bill) Williams
Bill wrote both Poetry and yarns, some of his yarns are still on the forum, I’m not so sure about his poetry,
it may have been lost on the old forum.
He had at least one book published ‘From The Humpy’. He was quite a character as a quote from the first page of his book bears out.
“Well, you may well ask a little about my history and I might not tell you the truth, but then again I might.”
He goes on to say he has lived in the Northern Territory, Northern Western Australia and northern Queensland in his younger days. And was once a stockman and a pro shooter when among other things he hunted buffalo and roos. In later life Bill lived in the Canberra area.
He wrote many entertaining yarns, you can look up some that are still on the Forum or the Yarn Spinning page.
He also wrote his own unique style of poetry, and if you can find a copy of his book you will get an insight into his own special style of writing.
Terry also wrote a short poem “A Mate Of Mine Called Bill” in the ABPA Members’ Poetry page on the ABPA Forum.
Vale Dot Schwenke
ABPA member and award-winning poet Dot Schwenke passed away on Sunday 7th January at 8:00 am.
She went peacefully with her family at her side. Dot’s body will be buried with other late members of he family
in the local cemetery in St George, Queensland.
A graveside funeral will be held on Friday 12th January at 10 am, conducted by Rev. Jim Cosgrove, a dear friend of Dot’s, who will travel from Longreach for her interment.
There will also be a memorial service in Brisbane on Monday 15th January at 11:30 am. It will be held at the Southern Cross Catholic chapel in Scarborough with parking in Sunnyside Road.
Both St George and Southern Cross Catholic College reflect part of Dot’s life and loves. It was only recently that Dot was granted affiliation into the De La Salle brotherhood at the same chapel – an amazing and very special accolade and recognition for her many years of service. This had to be approved by the Vatican – a big deal, indeed.
Join us as we celebrate an amazing "Woman of the West" and a life well lived. Her legacy will live on in her lyrics and her wonderful guidance given to students over all those years of teaching.
We will miss her terribly but we will also know that she lived her life as she knew it was right and she left it in the same way.
Our condolences to Fred, Stephen and Jenny.
Join us as we bid her farewell. May she rest in peace.
Vale Neville Briggs
Aaah, Neville Briggs, you meant so much to so many, but I doubt you ever really knew that. I’m so saddened at the loss
of my friend and mentor, who encouraged my poetry writing, gave honest feedback and helped me to think differently about poetry.
Neville was a huge part of the ABPA forum in past years. So giving in his support and encouragement, he earned the respect of everyone.
He was also a talented artist and at one time painted a scene from one of my photos taken at Shoal Bay. Neville was unassuming, modest and shy. He was also a talented and clever man and will be sorely missed. In the last few years he found love and happiness with his lovely Irish lady, Terrie.
Past Magazines now online
The historic magazines of the ABPA from its inception in 1994 are now available here. See how we used to look!
See previously featured poets.
See previously featured achievers.
Anthology On Sale
Anthology of ABPA poets past and present is now on sale $28
posted (within Australia).
A who’s who of modern bush poetry.
62 poets, 192 pages.
More information here (pdf).
On This Site
Forms and direct deposit information.
Take part in our online forum.
See and hear some of our modern Bush Poets.
Poets often tell yarns too.
Read some great Aussie yarns.
You’ll find regular poetry gatherings around the country.
Meet a poet or two.
Read about what some of our members have achieved.
Roll of Honour
Australian Bush Poetry Champions and ABPA executive members.
Past issues of the ABPA Magazine since 1994.
Magazine Advertising Rates
2024 ABPA Committee
- ABPA Committee Executive
President — Tim Sheed
Vice President — David Stanley
Secretary — Meg Gordon
Treasurer — Christine Middleton
- Committee Members
- ABPA State Delegates
NSW — Bill Kearns
Victoria — Jan Lewis
Queensland — Peter Frazer
WA — Irene Conner
- Magazine Editor — Neil McArthur
Public Officer — Gregory North
Facebook Editor — Jan Lewis
Webmaster — Gregory North
President’s Report December ’23 - January ’24
As I write this, reports are coming in about the Tamworth Country Music
Festival and they are very positive. The Longyard Breakfasts are selling
out and the Bush Poetry at the West Tamworth Bowling Club is being very
Life Membership of ABPA has been awarded to the richly deserving Marion Fitzgerald for her work and as a foundation member of ABPA at Tamworth in 1987. Ray Essery will be presenting Marion with her award at the Oracles of the Bush Festival in Tenterfield.
The Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival is being held in Orange from 17 to 24 February, Oracles of the Bush in Tenterfield in early April followed by The Man From Snowy River Festival incorporating the Victorian Bush Poetry Championships 11 to 14 April. It is a busy schedule and as I regularly point out our art is doing very well.
Notices have been sent to members notifying them that the Annual General Meeting of the Australian Bush Poets Association will be held on the 6th of February 2024 at 2pm AEDT via Zoom.
If anyone has been missed please contact ABPA Treasurer. Final notices for timely membership renewal have also been sent to members. Membership entitles you to copies of the magazine and for performance poets, entitles you to access Public Liability Insurance at greatly reduced rates.
Onwards and Upwards for Bush Poetry,